The Bobcat

November, 2020
Tyler Reber
Just like that, it’s Fall and if you’ve never experienced the wonders of #shenandoahnationalpark in the #Fall, you’re in for a real treat. Most come for the beautiful color display that the changing leaves put on each year, and while I look for that too, I’m often looking for it as a backdrop to use behind some animal in a photo. Fall is a great time for finding wildlife in the park. As leaves drop, bear become easier to spot in the woods, the deer enter their rut (mating season) and owls are generally easier to see perched high on a branch. Today’s story is about luck and timing. The Bobcat had always been on my list of animals to photograph. I didn’t fool myself into thinking that it might be easy. These are VERY reclusive and shy animals that mostly move around in the twilight hours – crepuscular, like most if not all cats. However, on this special morning, one of these gorgeous cats decided that a small spot of animal leftovers on #SkylineDrive would be a nice snack, precisely at the same time I came around a bend in my car. As soon as I saw the cat there in the road, my heart started racing. I didn’t entirely know what to do. Fearing I might spook the cat and miss a photo opportunity of a lifetime, I pulled over as slowly and as quietly as I could. Unbelievably, the bobcat slowly sauntered to the opposite shoulder, hopped up on a nearby rock and just stared at me. I watched back in amazement, my violently shaking fingers trying to work the shutter button on my camera as best they could. After taking a few dozen photos, I managed to exit the drive entirely and park in a nearby pull-off. The cat surprisingly didn’t leave, choosing instead to lay down on a log right near the rock it started on. I couldn’t believe my luck. I watched this stunning creature for a solid 10 minutes and in that time not a single other car came past. It was one of, if not the, most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed in the park. 📸 @tylerareber #bobcat #cats #animalsinspire #discoverwildlife #wildlifephotography #vawildlife #virginia #fall

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